Here in the Northern part of the country Fall is in the air. It is a great time of year with warm days and cool nights. Being Fall it also means a whole new batch of goodies from the garden will be ready soon. One of the most popular crops is Pumpkins. They are easy to grow and come in all sorts of colors and sizes.
Here are some tips on harvesting and Storing Pumpkins:
1. Leave the pumpkin on the vine until it is the color you want. After you pick it the color stays the same.
2. A couple of ways to tell if the pumpkin is ripe other than color preference are first to see if the skin of the pumpkin can be pierced by your fingernail. Another trick is to check the stem. If it is withering and cracking the pumpkin is “done”.
3. You could also be a very laid back gardener and just let Mother Nature do her thing and let the pumpkins and vines be. The vines will eventually dry out and you won’t even have to cut the pumpkin off the vine to harvest it.
4. Pumpkins can get really big. Be careful to support your prize pumpkin with both hands. Holding your pumpkin by the stem could lead to a disaster if the stem breaks.
5. Store your pumpkins in a cool dry place (no frost) and don’t let them touch as the skins of pumpkins touching can lead to rotting. The pumpkins should last for a few months if properly stored.
If you are planning on saving the seeds:
1. Collect the seeds and wash the pulp off of them.
2. Allow them to dry thoroughly. Place them on a rack or screen where air can get at them for drying.
3. Once dried the seeds can be stored where there is air but no sunlight. Recycle an old envelop for this and you can mark what the seeds are right on it.
4. The seeds should last a few years if stored properly.